Home Reviews Movies 8 Movies and TV Shows That Portray the Legal System Correctly – Film Daily

8 Movies and TV Shows That Portray the Legal System Correctly – Film Daily

8 Movies and TV Shows That Portray the Legal System Correctly – Film Daily

Everyone knows Hollywood tends to exaggerate for comedic or dramatic effect, and the legal system is no exception. In reality, the life of a lawyer tends to involve a lot of research, phone calls, and paperwork. Considering this, if movies and television shows about lawyers and courtrooms were accurate, they would be pretty boring! However, there are still a few gems that show accurate portrayals of the legal system. Here are eight examples.

1. 12 Angry Men

The entirety of this 1957 classic takes place in a single jury deliberation room with twelve unique jurors. While the focus is more on character development, it does emphasize the importance of a unanimous jury decision and how a juror’s personal experiences, values, and biases can influence their decision.

2. On the Basis of Sex

This film is particularly noteworthy for its portrayal of the legal system in the ’50s and ’60s, which was heavily male-dominated and ruled by sexism. One of its most important lessons is that societal changes happen one small step at a time. In other words, the legal system moves slowly, which lawyers know all too well, but this biopic film shows the struggles and challenges Ruth Bader Ginsburg faced in her career.

3. The Lincoln Lawyer

8 Movies and TV Shows That Portray the Legal System Correctly

The main character of “The Lincoln Lawyer” is an attorney who works out of his car, which isn’t unheard of within the legal profession. However, its accuracy lies in handling the ethical struggles of a defense attorney who is convinced that his client may not be as innocent as they claim.

The film delves into the moral and professional dilemmas faced by defense attorneys, particularly the conflict between their duty to represent their client zealously and their personal sense of justice. The protagonist, Mick Haller, must navigate the complexities of maintaining attorney-client privilege while grappling with his suspicions about his client’s guilt. This internal conflict is a realistic portrayal of the challenges that defense attorneys often face, balancing their legal obligations with their ethical beliefs.

4. Better Call Saul

This “Breaking Bad” spinoff is lauded for its relatively accurate depiction of what lawyers do outside of the courtroom. Some of the details that have been praised for accuracy include the role of partners in law firms, the amount of research involved in casework, and the type of legal advice that the main character gives to clients.

5. My Cousin Vinny

While not an accurate depiction of mob life, the courtroom scenes in “My Cousin Vinny” are known to be surprisingly accurate for a Hollywood film. Some of the so-called realistic scenes include the ones that portray the jury selection process, cross-examination of witnesses, evidence used in court, and even the use of, “Objection!”

6. Night Court

“Night Court” tells the story of a judge who presides over the night shift in a Manhattan municipal courtroom. Being a comedy, some of the plotlines and characters are highly absurd. However, the complicated interpersonal relationships between law enforcement, public defenders, prosecutors, and paraprofessionals are accurately portrayed.

7. Anatomy of a Murder

This 1959 legal drama centers on two talented lawyers battling from opposite sides of the courtroom over a high-stakes murder case. While some of the legal details are out-of-date according to modern standards, it is a good depiction of the back-and-forth tennis match that happens between both sides in court.

8. The Practice

Most lawyers will say that “The Practice” is one of the most accurate legal shows because of its depiction of the day-to-day running of a law firm. Between clients who skip out on paying their legal fees, staying up all night to read documents, and the “average-looking” cast of characters, it handles the un-glamorous side of the legal profession rather well.


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